Moving in Together: The Seven Metaphorical Steps of Cohabitation

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Written by Jordan Dickie – Bestword.ca, poetical works and analysis.

     As social creatures drawn to cohabitation with our significant partners, the natural evolution of a relationship eventually progresses towards the sharing of some common domicile.  This ‘coexistence’ can have its advantages (taking the next step in a lasting and beautiful relationship), but it can also have more than its share of hurdles, minefields, and all out declarations of genocidal war.  In many ways, the advancement into cohabitation is the ultimate test of a relationship.  To survive it, however, one must know when to draw a proverbial line in the sand just as well as when to run for your life.

     SHOCK:

     There is no better word to describe it: “Shock.”  The personal space that you once took for granted has now become a privilege that you long for wistfully as you stare blankly at the collection of pseudo-Venetian furniture and false flora posing as decoration.  Every piece of furniture, memorabilia, and electronics that you once used to define yourself has somehow found itself tucked away in the darkest corner of the basement or packed out of sight in storage.  Your post-modern definition of self has been redefined: you are no longer an individual; you are now one half of a sociological entity, the couple. 

     AWE:

     The French would have felt much the same way as they watched parades of “liberating” Nazi infantry marching down the streets of Paris.  The sheer volume of machine guns, Panzer tanks, and colorful potpourri bore in crystal glass vases pouring through the front door are enough to baffle the mind.  Like some Jewish shop owner, staring past the curtains with dread at the German hardware, you pray that there are no furnaces amongst that heartless war machine for you.  Gestapo propaganda pasted to every wall and door commands, “Change is a good thing.  Moving in together is a good thing.  If you love me, this is a good thing.”  Orwell would weep for you.

     OCCUPATION:

     If you are moving in, you feel as if an invading force of some distant foreign country, forced to set camp in hostile territory.  If you’re being moved in to, a helpless third world country overrun by some insensitive emotional overlord who seeks to not only take your land, but will not rest until it has destroyed every facet of your people, society and culture.  You are the victim of identity genocide.  Your old and decrepit have disappeared after their visits to the flower scented decontamination chambers; your young are registered in gender “reeducation” schools so that they may learn the err of their “ignorant” ways; and your able-bodied are enlisted in gulag-like work camps, slaving in plant watering and house cleaning chain gangs, performing chores, though seemingly pointless, that have now become the centre of your horrific existence.

     And the rules!  As if Moses himself had descended from Mount Sinai with these same commandments engraved in stone tablets, you would as if burn in sulfur and Hellfire so suffer if you dare to transgress by moistening the bath mat after taking a shower.  Those rugs and pillows decoratively cast over the couch are sacred idols to blood thirsty Pagan gods that demand no less than human sacrifice at the sacrilege of their disorganization.   No Christian, Greek, or Babylonian god will save you from being smited for your insolence.  Your prayers will go unanswered.  Abandon all hope, ye who enter here.

     INSURGENCY:

     You will attempt to fight back; to reclaim some of your self respect.  You may attempt to redeem your fleeting image of manhood by trying to stop the creeping Pastel Iron Curtain from overtaking some sacred site.  Your bar, the last venue of masculinity, is under threat of demolition.  Like some hopeless martyr, you fling yourself in vain under the treads of some monstrous abomination of interior decoration, praying that your sacrifice will somehow save your temple of divine refreshment.  Unimpressed, your ineffectual attempt at dissuasion has done nothing but to win the wrath of the tempestuous occupation.  Persuasion is futile; begging only buys time; defiant outbursts are met with silent brooding and emotional blackmail.  You loose, my friend.  You loose.  Paradise lost.

     SURRENDER:

     Eventually, as if concluding some Freudian prophesy, your stones drop to the floor and your castration will be complete.  Like some emasculated bull, the brass ring in your nose will seem the only means of communication anymore.  You come when heeded, the ring tugging ever so slightly on the nerves of your nostrils.  You draw your load like the dumb beast that you are; reaching high places, lifting heavy objects, opening jars, etc.  Your blank stare being your only respond to commands to plow the fields and do the dishes.  Fleeting memories of freedom may flutter past your consciousness, but you try to give them no heed.  They only make you sigh in broken melancholy.

     DEFEAT: 

     Eventually, the clouds clear and the sun shines on God’s forgotten people.  Through trials and tribulations, you were tested in the desert of purple cleaning agents and somehow found worthy.  By surviving in the wilderness of morbidly worn stuffed animals, you find a common ground of sorts, if not some kind of acceptance and even appreciation.  Where there was once conflict, there is now a void when she is absent.  Her return from her mother’s is now an occasion as great as Venus being borne on a seashell from the waves of the ocean.  Like the love-sick devoted, you find yourself longing for her embrace as a mortal would the touch of the soft white flesh of Aphrodite herself. 

     PEACE:

     It is a strange feeling; one of tamed temperament, but also one of completion.  As if from a Taoist poem, you find wholeness in the unity of your opposite, spinning perpetually together in the universe.  The Yang to your Yin, each ceasing to exist without the other, you come to need her more than any corporeal or worldly thing.  You find yourself at peace.  Your cohabitation has ceased to exist; your coexistence has now become a heavenly coeternity. 

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